Sports and Social Change

Paralympic Winter Games Sochi 2014

The Paralympic Winter Games are set to begin later this week in Sochi, Russia. There are 5 sports scheduled over the course of 9 days, including Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding, Cross Country Skiing, Biathlon, Sled Hockey and Curling, with over 575 athletes representing 45 countries. Opening Ceremonies will be broadcast live in the US on Friday 3/07 at 11:00am EST.

If you'd like to stay connected to all that's going on with the Paralympic Winter Games, here are some details and links to follow...

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2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Week two of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics brought to light more stories that resonated with us around social causes and global issues. Some of the narratives around equality and inclusion from week one continued to develop and the political turmoil in the Ukraine reinvigorated a dormant "cold war" message of Russia vs. the West.

And while there were criticisms of NBC's coverage (aren't there always?), the network's willingness to acknowledge rather than avoid some of the most pressing issues should be applauded. Add to that features in the second week on US Paralympian Jessica Long, Canadian freeskier Sarah Burke, and the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv tragedy, and we give NBC high marks. Some may see these merely as tear-jerking ploys to attract viewers, but we saw each as an opportunity to shine a light on important people & events the general sports public in the US rarely notices.

Here are just a few of the stories we tracked during week two of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics...

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For many nonprofit orgs, the Google Ad Grants program is a great way to get seen across the web. But without proper management, their generous $10,000 worth of Ad Words credit can disappear without doing much good. Understanding keyword selection and proper bidding are the domain of the top Search Engine Marketing (SEM) firms. And luckily, we've found one that wants to help YOU do more with your Google Ad Grant...

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Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games

We're at the half way point of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and several interesting stories, issues and personalities have come to light. While much has been made of these games being a public relations platform for Vladimir Putin's new Russia, juxtaposed against a dark cloud of a terrorism threats and human rights protests, behind it all are the athletes who compete for country, for personal glory and achievement, and at times, for a greater good.

These Olympic Games have brought us intriguing sub-stories around issues both global and hyper-local. Some will only play out over the next week's worth of events, others may find this moment in time as a jumping off point for a longer and deeper discussion on larger issues such as LGBT equality & inclusion or climate change. Either way, these games are worth watching.

Here's a quick look at what caught our attention during week one in Sochi...

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In all fairness, these aren't officially "Super Bowl" ads but both of these advertisements - one for Broncos fans and one for Seahawks fans - show the power of sports in our society. "Kara Christian's salute" captures the true essence of what it means to be a fan and how the emotional connection to a favorite team provides strength even in the most dire of circumstances. And Derrick Coleman's "Trust Your Power" ad for Duracell delivers the message of overcoming the obstacles of a disability and pursuing your goals regardless of any perceived limitations.

Cancer-Stricken Fan Thanks the Denver Broncos in Amazing Newspaper Ad

"I don't care what USA Today's Ad Meter says after the game. Kara Christian's ad wins the Super Bowl this year."

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Super Bowl week in New York is in full swing and in true NYC style there are many events with tremendous stars happening all across the region, from the Food Network's Ultimate Tailgate Experience, to EA Sports Madden XX Super Bowl Party and the 15th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration at Madison Square Garden. Landmarks like Times Square and Bryant Park have been turned into temporary bases for ESPN, CBS Sports, and other major outlets trying to capitalize on the bright lights of NYC and SB 48.

In addition to the flashy parties and celeb watching, there are a host of events being run by the Super Bowl Committee geared towards giving back and having a positive effect on the NYC area. These include rebuilding a neighborhood, networking events for non-profits, and the all important blood and coat drives.

Below are a few examples of what's going on in and around the metro NY area this week. These events are a great way to give back to the community and also interact with some prominent NFL players, executives and fellow football fans who share a passion for giving back. So before you sit down to enjoy SB 48, take a few minutes to see how you can make a difference prior to the big game...

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has a Charter. This document outlines the principles, functions and guidelines behind the games, those who organize them and those who compete. By definition, the IOC Charter establishes the principles and values of Olympism, serves as IOC law, and defines the rights and obligations of the 4 main constituents  of the Olympic movement: The IOC, International Federations, National Olympic Committees and the Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games.

The Charter has been invoked several times over the issue of discrimination, most recently around female athletes from Saudi Arabia being prevented from participating in the London 2012 Summer Games by their own country. A big focus was on Principle 6 in the Charter, which states "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."

Unless you're in Russia.

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This is my final segment on “Defining Sports and Social Change” and here I’ll be shining a light where sports are used as a platform for advocacy, awareness and fundraising campaigns. This is the category most casual sports fans and active “weekend warriors” are familiar with, where we see sports as a central, unifying platform to rally an audience and raise awareness and/or funds around a particular cause.

Probably the most common examples are the thousands of run/walks, marathons, cycling and endurance races that happen every year, raising funds and awareness around a myriad of diseases and critical social issues. Run/Walk/Ride events have proven to be effective fundraisers and are used by some of the largest nonprofits and cause programs in the world including American Cancer Society, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Alzheimer's Association.

Also falling into this category is a majority of the efforts we see in professional sports. The major pro sports leagues, teams and athletes are often central figures in campaigns and initiatives designed to bring fans together around a particular cause. The NFL Crucial Catch program promoting Breast Cancer awareness, and the NHL Hockey Fights Cancer program during the month of October are good examples of these initiatives, as are ongoing campaigns from many individual athlete foundations and team foundations.

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“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”

~ Nelson Mandela, 1918 - 2013

Thank you, Nelson Mandela.
Your actions and words defined the transformative and unifying power of sport, and used it to make changes that protests and diplomacy could not.
Peace be with you.

 

 

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